Summer is here, and that means more occasions to eat meals outside. July is National Picnic Month, and to celebrate we’re sharing some of our favorite easy picnic recipes that are perfect for picnics, tailgates, barbecues or any outdoor event.

Whether you need to bring a dish to your neighbor’s Fourth of July party or are planning a weekend outing with the family, these crowd-pleasing picnic foods are easy to make and take, and they deliver on flavor and presentation.

1. Spicy Avocado Chicken BLT Wraps

Nothing puts a damper on a picnic like a sad, soggy sandwich. Enter: these spicy avocado chicken BLT wraps made with ingredients you might already have stashed in your fridge and pantry.

avocado-chicken-blt-wrap-recipe

Image via Nutrition in the Kitch

Ingredients

  • 4 large wraps of your choice
  • 10 ounces cooked chicken breast, shredded or chopped into bite-size pieces
  • 6 strips crispy bacon, crumbled into small pieces
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 avocados, pitted and sliced into thin strips
  • 10 leaves romaine lettuce, torn into small pieces
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons hot sauce (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, sugar, hot sauce, and a pinch of salt and pepper.
  2. Add chicken, tomatoes and bacon, mixing until thoroughly coated.
  3. Place wraps on a flat surface and line with avocado slices. Mash avocado with a fork, so it sticks to the wraps. Add a layer of lettuce and a few scoops of chicken to the center of each wrap, wrapping tightly and slicing in half.

Yields 4 servings

Adapted from Nutrition in the Kitchen

2. Apple Fennel Chicken Salad

Chicken salad is all about texture, and this recipe nails it thanks to crunchy pieces of apple. It’s also a great way to make use of your budding herb garden, though dried herbs will do.

summer-picnic-recipes-chicken-salad

Image via Bon Appétit

Ingredients

  • 4 large wraps of your choice
  • 1 small head of Boston or Bibb lettuce
  • 1/2 apple, finely chopped
  • 1/2 fennel bulb, finely chopped
  • 1/2 small shallot, finely chopped
  • 8 ounces roasted, poached or rotisserie chicken, torn into bite-size pieces
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chives, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh tarragon, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest, finely grated
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, or more to taste
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Add apple, fennel, shallot, chicken, mayonnaise, chives, tarragon, lemon zest and lemon juice to a large mixing bowl. Stir with a fork until well combined. Season with salt, pepper and additional lemon juice to taste.
  2. Sandwich chicken salad and a few pieces or Boston or Bibb lettuce between two pieces of toasted bread or inside a wrap.

Yields 4 servings

Adapted from Bon Appétit

3. Homemade Chicken Nuggets

Fried chicken is perfect picnic food, but it can get a little messy. The solution: these tasty fried chicken bites that rival those of a certain beloved fast food chain. In fact, these are so good, you just might not notice the difference!

The secret to these juicy nuggets is a lengthy 24-hour marinating period. Not great for impromptu picnics, but if you have time to prepare, you won’t be disappointed. The breading in this recipe uses a yummy spice blend, but you can always dial down the heat by sticking with salt and pepper.

diy-chicken-nuggets-recipe

Image via Southern Living

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground red pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle chili pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried crushed red pepper
  • 1 1/2 ground black pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 3 slices of bread, toasted
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • Peanut oil

Directions

  1. For the breading, combine the first seven ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside half of the spice blend. Cut chicken into bite-size 1-inch pieces. Place chicken in a medium bowl and toss with spice blend until well coated. Stir in buttermilk. Cover and chill for 24 hours.
  2. Using a food processor, combine toasted bread and remaining spice mixture until it resembles cornmeal. Add flour. Once chicken has marinated for 24 hours, remove from buttermilk mixture and dredge in breadcrumb coating.
  3. Pour 2 inches of oil into a Dutch oven and heat to 350° F. Working in batches, fry chicken for 6 to 7 minutes on each side, or until golden brown and cooked through. Drain chicken on a wire rack over paper towels. Sprinkle with salt to taste and serve with your favorite dipping sauce.

Yield 4-6 servings

Adapted from Southern Living

4. Chicken Banh Mi

Juicy rotisserie chicken, crunchy vegetables and a sesame dressing that adds just the right amount of zing make these chicken banh mi sandwiches a picnic favorite that’s easy to make, take and enjoy.

Jalapenos add a nice pop of flavor to this popular Vietnamese sandwich; just be careful when handling them. Use a separate cutting board, thoroughly wash your hands and keep your hands away from your eyes.

banh-mi-picnic-sandwich-recipes

Image via Midwest Living

Ingredients

  • 4 soft baguettes, halved
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons Sriracha sauce
  • 1 cup cucumber, preferably English or Persian, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup radishes, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups rotisserie chicken, shredded
  • 1 carrot, shredded
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro
  • 1-2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and thinly sliced into rounds
  • 1/3 cup rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise and Sriracha. Spread mixture onto halved baguettes. Layer cucumber, radishes, chicken, carrot, cilantro and jalapeno atop baguettes.
  2. Combine rice vinegar, toasted sesame oil sugar and crushed red pepper in a small bowl and drizzle over sandwiches. Top with additional sliced jalapenos, the other half of the roll and secure with parchment paper for easy eating, if desired.

Yields 4 servings

Adapted from Midwest Living

5. Cold Miso-Sesame Noodles

Forget pasta salad. These miso-sesame noodles look complicated, but they’re so easy to make and transport to your picnic. One word of caution: This recipe calls for a chile pepper. Be sure to thoroughly wash your hands and keep your hands away from your eyes after handling.

cold-miso-sesame-noodles-recipe

Image via Bon Appétit

Ingredients

  • Kosher salt
  • 1 Fresno chile, finely chopped
  • 4 Persian cucumbers, cut into half-moons
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 3 limes
  • 1/2 cup mild miso
  • 4 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • 4 teaspoons light brown sugar
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • 1/3 cup grapeseed oil, or other neutral oil
  • 1 pound spaghetti or thin wheat noodles
  • Toasted sesame seeds, for garnish

Directions

  1. Fill a large pot two-thirds of the way full with water and bring to a boil. Add a small handful of salt when water starts to steam.
  2. Cut two limes in half, using a citrus reamer or fork to juice limes until you have about a 1/4 cup lime juice. Discard seeds. Cut remaining lime into wedges and set aside for serving.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together miso, sesame oil, brown sugar and lime juice until smooth. Using a microplane grater, grate garlic clove into miso dressing and stir combine.
  4. Whisking the miso dressing, slowly pour in grapeseed oil until the dressing is smooth and thick. Whisk in 1 tablespoon of water at a time until the dressing reaches the consistency of heavy cream. This usually requires about 2 tablespoons of water.
  5. Once water is boiling, add pasta to pot and cooking according to package instructions.
  6. Drain pasta in a colander and rinse with cold water to stop cooking and remove starch. Drain thoroughly and add to large bowl with miso dressing.
  7. Toss pasta to coat in miso dressing. Add chile pepper, cucumbers and scallions. Season with salt to taste and toss again to combine. Top with optional toasted sesame seeds and reserved lime wedges.

Yields 4-6 servings

Adapted from Bon Appétit

6. Charred Corn Salad

Charred corn makes this simple summer salad look like it took hours to make, but it comes together in about 30 minutes, and the queso really makes it pop. Maximum flavor, minimal effort!

corn-picnic-salad-recipes

Image via Country Living

Ingredients

  • 1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 red chile pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 ears fresh corn, shucked
  • 3/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 4 ounces queso fresco, crumbled (about 1 cup)

Directions

  1. Heat grill to medium.
  2. Toss red onion, chile pepper, lime juice and oil in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  3. Grill corn until charred, turning occasionally, about 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool, then cut corn from cobs. Add corn to onion mixture, tossing to combine. Fold in cilantro and queso.

Yields 8 servings

Adapted from Country Living

7. Antipasto Skewers

Get your creative juices flowing with these easy-to-make antipasto skewers. They’re one of the simplest appetizers of all time, and you can easily swap ingredients based on your preferences.

antipasto-skewers-picnic-recipe

Image via Baked by Nature

Ingredients

  • 15 long wooden skewers
  • 1 9-ounce package cheese tortellini
  • 1/2 cup zesty Italian salad dressing
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce (optional)
  • 1 9.5-ounce jar olives (black, green, Spanish, Kalamata, etc.)
  • 1 small package grape tomatoes
  • 1 package of Genoa salami, thinly sliced
  • 1 8-ounce container fresh mozzarella balls
  • 1 can artichoke hearts, chopped into bite-size pieces
  • Handful basil leaves, torn

Directions

  1. Cook tortellini according to package instructions. Drain and rinse in cold water. In a resealable plastic bag, combine tortellini with salad dressing and optional hot sauce, and toss to combine. Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes.
  2. When ready to assemble skewers, drain tortellini in colander and remove excess marinade.
  3. Thread toppings through the skewers, assemble on a platter and serve.

Adapted from Baked by Nature

8. Tangy Collard & Cabbage Slaw

Who says coleslaw needs to be swimming in mayo? This fresh, flavorful take on a summertime staple is delicious on its own, but you can also use it as a topping to take burgers, hot dogs and sandwiches to the next level.

coleslaw-picnic-recipes

Image via Country Living

Ingredients

  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons whole grain mustard
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons honey
  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 small bunch collard greens, de-stemmed and shredded
  • 1/2 small head green cabbage, shredded
  • 6 slices thick-cut bacon, cooked and crumbled

Directions

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine onion, vinegar, mustard, honey and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Let stand, tossing occasionally until onion softens, about 5 to 10 minutes.
  2. Add collard greens and cabbage, tossing to coat. Chill for at least 15 minutes. When ready to serve, add crumbled bacon.

Adapted from Country Living

9. Chickpea Hummus

Sure, you could hit the grocery store and pick up a container of hummus, but this recipe is so much better. You may never get store-bought hummus again!

Za’atar, a Middle Eastern spice blend that contains a combination of thyme, sumac and sesame seeds, is the star here. You can find it at specialty stores and most grocery stores. It’s delicious on hummus, but optional for this recipe. Pack this hummus for your picnic and serve with a side of pita bread, crackers or fresh veggies.

easy-hummus-recipe

Image via Bon Appétit

Ingredients

  • 1 15.5-ounce can chickpeas
  • 1 large lemon
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/2 cup tahini, well mixed
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, or more to taste
  • 10 cranks freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Za’atar or sesame seeds for garnish (optional)

Directions

  1. Rinse chickpeas in a colander and allow to drain thoroughly.
  2. Halve lemon and squeeze juice into a small bowl, yielding 3-4 tablespoons. Remove any seeds.
  3. Using a microplane grater, grate garlic to create a paste.
  4. Combine chickpeas, lemon juice, garlic, tahini, salt, pepper, cumin and water in a food processor and process until smooth, about 1 minute.
  5. With the motor running, gradually pour in olive oil and continue to process until hummus achieves a light, creamy texture, about 1 minute. If hummus is too thick, add 1 tablespoon of water at a time and process until you’ve reached your desired consistency. Season with more salt to taste.
  6. Transfer hummus to an airtight container and top with za’atar or sesame seeds and more olive oil, if desired.

Yields approximately 2 cups

Adapted from Bon Appétit

10. Grandma Mollie’s Oatmeal Raisin Chocolate Chip Cookies

No picnic is complete without a sweet treat to top it off. These oatmeal raisin chocolate chip cookies are a comforting classic.

oatmeal-raisin-cookies-recipe

Image via Country Living

Ingredients

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
  • 1 1/4 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup milk

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Stir in eggs until well combined.
  3. In a separate mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients, plus raisins, walnuts and chocolate chips. Slow add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and stir to combine. Continue stirring and add in milk.
  4. Drop heaping tablespoon-size dough balls on baking sheet, about 1 inch apart. Bake until golden brown and slightly crunchy, about 15 minutes.

Yields approximately 4 dozen cookies

Adapted from Country Living

These no-sweat recipes are sure to please the masses wherever your picnic plans take you this summer. Another thing you shouldn’t sweat? Your insurance.

Don’t go another day wondering if you carry an adequate amount of auto, homeowners or renters insurance coverage. At Personal Express, our Homegrown Pros can help you understand your existing coverage and design a policy that meets your needs and your budget. Meet with a local agent in your neighborhood or call 1-800-499-3612 to get started.

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*The information provided in this blog is designed to give helpful advice on the topic discussed. It is not intended to provide legal or any other type of advice and is not meant to be a thorough discussion of every issue that a person should consider or may encounter. Personal Express Insurance is a brand utilized by the following insurance underwriting companies: Integon National Insurance Company and National General Premier Insurance Company. All policies will be underwritten by these two underwriting companies.

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